If you are like the tens of thousands of salespeople in B2B sales filling their sales pipeline online, you know that social media can be a powerful tool to bring in growth. But it is not a magic bean that can sprout growth overnight and provide you with leads.
To generate leads and drive B2B sales, a solid and consistent brand awareness and engagement strategy supercharged by cold outreach is what is needed – and we are positive LinkedIn is the place for it.
2. Engage with the right decision makers and actively drive B2B sales
LinkedIn is a lead generation goldmine with over 750 million users. This vast user base includes a large number of decision makers you could find and engage with to ultimately generate B2B sales.
If you are in sales, you know what role prospecting plays in the sales process. It is just as important in social selling which is about nurturing the right relationships. This kickstarts the entire social selling process and makes cold outreach (which comes later) relatively easy and more effective. The math is simple: the more prospects you generate, the more chances to close a sale you have, as every prospect equals an opportunity.
All you need are these three key steps for LinkedIn sales prospecting:
Step 1: Revisit your buyer personas to find out exactly who you want to reach.
Flesh out as many details of your ideal prospect as possible. The more focused this is, the easier it will be to reach out to them. At this point, it is instrumental to also think in the “problem-solution way”, i.e. identify what pain points your ideal customers may have and how does your product solve them?
Step 2: Use LinkedIn filters or LinkedIn Sales Navigator to look for them.
This allows you to conduct hyper-targeted searches including job title, seniority level, industry, and more that are related to your ideal customer persona. You can even save up to three LinkedIn people searches and LinkedIn will email you weekly with new prospects who meet your search criteria.
Step 3: Follow them to learn more about them and build a connection.
Now that you have found your ideal prospects, hit that follow button and learn more about what they do. Become familiar with their LinkedIn company page and website. Learn about what they offer on their LinkedIn company page and how they are positioning themselves. You can also look at what you may already have in common. For example, use the “2nd Degree” search function to find those with whom you share a connection, or take a look at their LinkedIn groups and find one in which you are both members.
Once you have identified your prospects, learnt more about them, and engaged with their content, you may send them a personalised message using that connection. As there is some familiarity at this point, they may be likely to respond positively to any prospecting messages you send to them.
5. Use LinkedIn Marketing solutions to turn followers into B2B sales
This is one of the more direct ways to drive B2B sales on the platform.
Here is a brief overview of what marketing on LinkedIn looks like and the different content types and ads you should know about.
Sponsored content allows you to boost your LinkedIn posts and get them in front of an audience you would not have reached otherwise.
On LinkedIn, there are three different types of sponsored content to boost B2B sales:
- Image – To drive traffic to your website with powerful visuals.
- Carousel – To tell a story with an engaging and interactive ad experience.
- Video – To build brand awareness with in-feed videos.
Sponsored messaging (InMail and conversation ads)
With sponsored messaging, your pitches can straightaway land in your prospect’s inbox. You can use them to drive brand awareness, generate engagement, or directly generate leads.
There are two types of sponsored messaging on LinkedIn to promote B2B sales:
- Message ads – To display a targeted message with a single call-to-action button.
- Conversation ads –To set up multiple call-to-action buttons that link to your landing pages, open a Lead Gen Form, or drive engagement with more information in the next message.
Lead Gen Forms
This is an extension of advertising on LinkedIn to increase mobile conversion rates by placing CTAs on your ads, making it easier for users to take action. The great thing about this feature is that it allows for a seamless experience for users to express their interest without them even having to leave the website.
There are three benefits of using Lead Gen Forms:
- Get high quality leads at scale – Lead Gen Forms come pre-filled with accurate LinkedIn profile data, letting members send you their professional info with just a couple of clicks.
- Analyse the ROI of your campaigns – Track your campaigns’ cost per lead, lead form fill rate, and the number of leads you are getting from specific professional audience segments.
- Easy access to lead data – Download your leads from Campaign Manager or integrate with your preferred marketing automation or CRM tool.
7. Build a connection with your audience using LinkedIn polls to drive B2B sales
LinkedIn polls are a great way to engage your audience and gain insight into your audience’s top goals. Due to the interactive format, polls also have higher impressions than any other posts. One way to extend reach even further is to post poll topics that are trending and likely to spark up a conversation in the comments section.
When using polls for social selling and B2B sales, not only can you easily tap into the pain points of your prospects, but also get to use the results to continue the conversation in the prospect’s inbox. Try to base your poll question around a specific pain point like “what is your most challenging part of outbound sales?” With answer options: “Finding contacts”, “Doing cold outreach”, “Creating strong messaging”, “Other (comment below)”. Then, you can follow up with the prospects who answered using a connection request (also saves LinkedIn messaging credits). Something as simple as “Hey, I noticed you voted on a poll of mine that you find doing cold outreach most challenging in outbound sales. If you are interested in learning how you can automate the repetitive parts of the outbound sales process so you can focus more time on qualified leads, feel free to check out our website or book a call with us to learn more.” should inspire a positive response.
Since you are only offering value to them on an issue that is relevant to them, they would be likely to accept the connection request. In the above example, you drive them to your website and create an interest in your product which may result in a B2B sales lead. If not, you might be able to spark up a conversation around their concerns and gain insight on how to build your solution around it.
8. Join LinkedIn groups to build a follower base and widen your social selling reach
A big advantage of LinkedIn lies within its groups. By sharing your expertise, participating in conversations, and being a reliable source of information within the group, you have the opportunity to build valuable relationships to potentially drive B2B sales.
Here is how to use LinkedIn groups to widen your social selling reach:
Join groups or create your own
To find a group, search for a topic of your expertise within your industry. For instance, if your ideal customer is a small business owner, then search for groups related to small businesses. If you sell customer service software, search and join groups that are dedicated to customer service managers. You may also create a standard group and promote it on your LinkedIn bio to increase visibility.
Drive meaningful interactions
Before you begin promoting your group or inviting members to join, post content to your group. This content should be carefully selected, whether curated or self-created, and of interest and value to your members. To ensure new and existing members always find fresh content of value to them, plan to share new content consistently.
Start by creating three or four posts. Here are a few ideas for posts: how you solved a key challenge for your target market; discuss new trends or current issues your industry is facing; share unpopular opinions or ways to achieve results.
Listen and monitor group discussions
By keeping tabs on the group buzz you can begin following specific members and build relationships with them. This is also a great way to stay informed about hot topics and to monitor competitors. You may also increase your interactions by liking or commenting on posts from key contributors or decision makers. Every time you do that, your profile photo will be added to the discussion tab on the group’s front page, as well as the group newsfeed.
Conclusion for social selling on LinkedIn
Through social selling, your aim must be to catapult brand awareness and engagement in order to drive B2B leads. While the impact of LinkedIn on B2B sales and lead generation is hard to deny, it is not a silver bullet. It is just one piece of an organised strategy that needs to be integrated with other channels to build a closer relationship with your prospects and maximise lead generation. Apart from applying all the above 11 methods, it is recommended to use a combination of email and cold calling to reach your prospects to maximise your potential to generate sales opportunities. Lastly, do analyse your social media metrics to uncover your strong areas as well as key areas of improvement to get better results with social selling and thus drive more B2B sales.
For those that are unfamiliar with hubsell, we provide an end-to-end B2B prospecting solution with on-demand generated B2B data and multi-channel personalised outreach automation software to generate sales qualified leads.
Book your discovery call today to see how you can scale your opportunity generation.